Last season’s FLL WORLD CLASSSM Global Innovation winning team, Team Storm of Terre Haute, Ind., USA, walked away with the top prize of $20,000 USD to further develop their ROY G. BIV Math System to aid students struggling with dyslexia. Coach Lori Langley recently checked in with the team’s progress.

Storm 1

At the end of May 2015, we learned that a group of seniors from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology had chosen to develop our app as part of their Computer Science & Software Engineering Senior Project for the 2015-16 school year.  We first met with the team at the beginning of September on the Rose-Hulman campus. We pitched our idea to them and showed them our poster boards and the prototype we used during our FLL WORLD CLASS season, so they would have a better understanding of where we wanted to go with our app. We could tell immediately that they understood our vision, and we were all excited to move forward.

Storm 2

We are grateful to be involved in every step of this process. Here, we chose the shades for each color in the ROY G. BIV pattern.

Storm 3

By our second meeting, we were already addressing the challenge of handwriting recognition which is something we wanted to be able to use in our app.

Storm 4

The Rose-Hulman students already had mock-ups made by our third meeting! They used all the sketches we had given them and created a rough draft of what our homepage could look like. They questioned us on what we liked, disliked, or wanted to change.

Storm 5We wanted to know how the computer could recognize a child’s handwriting and convert it to text. Here, Austin explains how the handwriting recognition is actually programmed. It is extremely complex but super-cool.

Storm 6

In October, we discussed the usefulness of a handwriting trainer. The Rose-Hulman team recommended a section in which the user can train the app to recognize his/her individual style of handwriting.  We took turns using the trainer so the app could learn each of our handwriting. We really tested the app by writing in all sorts of ways!

Storm 7

Here, we are testing out the notebook section of our app, where students can take notes and complete classwork. Sure, there are a few glitches, but we are amazed by the progress!

Storm 8

Now, you can zoom in and out on the workspace grid which is helpful if you are working with really long numbers.

Storm 9

Each week, we enjoy checking out the progress using multiple devices. Playing with the app allows us to discover little glitches which our team from Rose-Hulman spends the rest of the week correcting.

Storm 10

We were excited in December when fractions were added to the ROY G. BIV Math System. You tap an icon in the lower, right-hand corner of the screen, and up pops a specialized grid that allows you to insert a fraction into your equation.

Storm 11

In December, we conducted our first usabilty testing on the campus of Rose-Hulman. Usability testing is extremely important, and we highly recommend it. We want to be sure our app has a user-friendly design so it was good to learn if children could get around our app without any assistance.

Storm 12

Seeing other kids work with our app opened our eyes to many factors we had not considered.  For example, younger children have trouble writing within the grid lines on our app, making handwriting recognition nearly impossible. Back to the drawing board we go!  We can’t wait to see how our app continues to develop in the coming months!

One thing that really surprised us was how quickly our app came to life once our ideas were placed in the hands of the Rose-Hulman team. It is exciting to see the progress at each of our weekly meetings, but there are lots of challenges, too. Of course we deal with setbacks and frustrating moments all throughout our FIRST® LEGO® League season, and have learned how to work through them as a team. But it is great to see that we can also put our heads together with our Rose-Hulman friends and come up with solutions together that will improve the performance of our app. Collaborating with these seniors who are getting ready to graduate and start their careers has really gotten us thinking about what we are going to do next and where we will go.